A Ridiculous Amount of Cables

I have a ridiculous amount of cables in my home office due to two computers. But I have managed them pretty well, yes? (See photo.)

I love zip ties.

Number of Cables

  1. power cable to workstation
  2. power cable to DSL modem
  3. ethernet cable
  4. power cable to laser printer
  5. usb cable to laser printer
  6. usb cable to scanner
  7. power cable to touchscreen monitor
  8. usb cable to videocam
  9. usb cable to touchscreen monitor from desktop workstation
  10. DVI cable to touchscreen monitor from desktop workstation
  11. VGA cable to touchscreen monitor from laptop workstation
  12. PS/2 cable to mouse from desktop workstation
  13. usb cable to keyboard from desktop workstation
  14. usb cable to mouse from laptop workstation
  15. power cable to laptop workstation
  16. auxiliary usb cable for impromptu usb device (card reader, thumbdrive, phone; cycle computer)
  17. power cable to desk fan

An all-in-one computer could probably reduce the amount of cables above by half…

Using strategic routing and about a dozen zip ties, I think I have my cable situation under control.

Your Voice

  • Adam says:

    I use split loom tubing to hide multiple cables. You can simplify the look of all those cables coming from the back of your computer with one big loom tube.

    A wireless mouse and keyboard (I use the Logitech K760 with my Mac) also helps reduce cable clutter.

    When I eventually upgrade my laser printer, I’ll likely go with one that supports Wi-Fi.

    • Felix says:

      Ah, split loom tubing. Sounds like the black corrugated plastic 3/4″-diameter longitudinally split conduit I used for my MGB. Wish I still had some of that stuff.

      Wireless mouse and keyboard sound like a good idea. How often do you have to replace their batteries?

      My laser printer has wifi, but it isn’t as reliable as the USB connection. I almost always have the printer off and only turn it on during the rare moments I have to print something. During those moments I hate to wait for the wireless network to sense that the printer is now available.

    • Felix says:

      Oh! I see your Logitech keyboard is solar, so no batteries needed. Good idea!

  • Adam says:

    I use Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable batteries for my wireless mouse. I figure they last me a couple of months before I have to recharge them.

    I never thought about the power usage of the laser printer while on standby or idle; I know that when printing, it uses a lot of electricity, but calculations show it uses even more when just sitting around.

    • Felix says:

      You’ve made the third reference to Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable batteries I’ve seen in a week. The other references I saw were with bicycle lights. They must be very high-capacity and/or a really good value, or…?

  • Adam says:

    Don’t know if my last comment went though. Did some back of the envelope calculations on my laser printer; it uses only 8 watts when sleeping. 720 hours * 8 watts = 5.76kWh = $0.59. So, maybe I’m not saving as much as I thought I was.

    Have you done calculations on energy usage if you just kept your printer on instead of turning it on and off throughout the month?

  • Felix says:

    Hi Adam. That’s a good calculation you did. When I measured the power consumption of my printer, I got around what you did—6 watts on standby (vs. 100-500W when printing):


    Per your calculations of 5.76kWh/month, that is 0.2kWh/day, which is pretty insignificant. But in principal, it all adds up: .2kWh is still 5% of the 4kWh/day I was averaging some months!

    In this particular case, the $ savings are so trivial that it may not be worth turning the printer on and off, especially if you print more than a few times a month and each power cycle requires 20 seconds of waiting for the printer to warm up.

    But there is something to be said for the fostering of good habits. I was reminded of this when I received the electricity bill for the month of August, when I was subletting out the house while I was in Europe. My subletters’ energy usage was a whopping 35 kWh/day. In contrast, my consumption is usually 11 or 12 kWh/day in July and August (I use the A/C enough to be comfortable), and 4-6 kWh/day the other months. I think one of the reasons for the contrast was I don’t consider the one second required to turn something off when not in use is anything of an inconvenience, mainly because of the ingrained habit of doing so all these years.

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